Alessandro ‘Algol’ Comerio Chats About The Cats In His Life9th February 2021 0 By Queen Nikki
Alessandro ‘Algol’ Comerio is a talented multi-instrumentalist who plays a very busy part, hustling in many musical projects. He plays bass guitar in Italian blackened doom metal band, Forgotten Tomb, Drums for Tom G. Warriors Hellhammer tribute, Triumph of Death and has his own incredible solo project, Hiems. We caught up with him to learn about his home life in Italy with his pets and his work as a long term volunteer for an amazing cat shelter.
Alessandro, thanks for catching up, I hear you have a few pets at home, how many do you have and who are they? What are their names and why? We’d love to know all about them.
Hi Nikki! Well, at the moment I share my apartment with 3 male cats and a water turtle. I say share because I consider my house more propriety of my furry friends than mine, since they spend more time than me inside it! Everything here is arranged in their favour, so they can scratch and sniff whatever they wish. Speaking about names, I’ve never been one of those giving metal or noble names to cats, I’m more on the funny side. They all come from the cat shelter in which I volunteer, and I changed their original names in the first months they spent with me, basing it on their personality or on funny facts.
Speaking about them, now the house boss is Topino, 9 years old. I met him while cleaning his cage at the shelter while he was sick (we keep sick cats in isolation for a while sometimes), and he started grabbing me and meowing like crazy to call me back…what to say? Love at first sight. Few days later he ended isolation and I took him home!
Then I have Pirata (he has only one eye, that’s the name reason ahah), 8 years old. He was not very social as a baby at the shelter, always hiding himself, but I’ve a soft spot for difficult cases and I noticed that he was loving to give hugs once I had more confidence with him…so here we go, home! Now he is the most courageous and loving one. He has no fear of strangers and has become very social. Last one is Bruby (just a funny name, once I called him like that for a mistake and it became his name), 7 years old. Another super shy cat, I was able to socialise with him in MONTHS of work at the shelter, and when I saw he was starting to trust me I just had to take him home. He is kind of psycho and paranoid still, but did a pretty big transformation here. Then there is Brodo (which means soup in Italian), a 20+ year old turtle that loves to snap fingers.
The cat shelter sounds like a great place, how long have you volunteered there?
I started volunteering back in 2011, after losing a cat that had a very special place in my heart. I came home from a small tour, and he died the very same day. He was very sick…it looked like he waited for me to say goodbye.
I thought of making something in his memory, and helping other cats sounded like a good idea. The shelter back then was a little house, but a few years later a new amazing structure has been built, with an ambulatory and a lot of different rooms. Every room has also a garden so the cats can be outside too. Daniela, the shelter director, has done a fantastic job.
They also organise pet therapy sessions for disabled children. Because I myself, am not exactly a social person (not in a standard way, at least), I chose to take care only of the cleaning and feeding of the cats. I also organised a rock festival for a couple of years (Gatto Rock festival…yes you can get it ahah) to raise funds for the shelter.
The festival was held inside the castle of the city of Galliate, which is the location of the shelter. We had fun but at the end unfortunately we didn’t raise enough money to make all the work behind the festival worth it, so we eventually stopped…sad!
The story of the shelter is very inspiring, I admire your hard work and love for the cats. What are the weirdest things your cat gets up to?
Well, Topino is the master of weird stuff. He is crazy about mouse toys, and after chasing and playing with them, he always needs to brag about it, screaming as loud as he can until you compliment him for the good hunt. Of course, night time is his favourite moment for hunting ahah! Then, he is like my shadow. In this precise moment he is laying down next to my computer keyboard…as soon as he hears the PC starting up, he is in position. He also has an obsession with the printer, every time I’m printing something he stays there completely excited by it…and if you touch him in that moment, he is jumping, scared like crazy! Lately he is also into gaming…he plays with my phone, with games for cats. He just loves the ones where he can catch….yes, mice on screen!
Pirata is very quiet and lovely, he just needs to feel contact all the time. You can take him and put it on you like a teddy bear, he will stay. Bruby is the psycho of the house, like I said, he’s at the window, all the time, bird watching and when you approach him he always suspects you are trying to murder him so he runs away! Then he changes his mind and waits for you 5 meters away.
They really are so full of character. Can they do any tricks? Have you tried to teach them any?
Not really, more of the opposite! They taught me how to work properly for them ahah! I guess that the biggest difference between cats and dogs is that a dog normally considers you as his owner. A cat, IF you behave well, will consider you as his equal. Which is the biggest compliment to me!
This passed year has been pretty manic, so you’ve no-doubt, like the rest of us, spent a lot of time at home. How have your cats helped being at home for you? Have they been comforting or running around like crazy?
Well, both! I’ve been able to spend more time with them, and they’ve been a blessing for sure. I’m one of those people that speaks with animals and I have no problem to admit it! I guess in the first weeks they were a bit perplexed about me never leaving the house, but I guess they liked it as well.
Have you always been an animal lover? Have you ever owned any exotic pets?
As far as I remember, I grew up with dogs because my uncle was breeding German Shepherds, but I always felt a connection with all animals. Often more than with other people. I remember taking the dogs out for long walks in the woods near my grandparents’ house, it was one of my favourite activities.
If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be and why?
No doubts: a goose! Well, more than one. Don’t ask me why but I’m totally fixated with them! There is a park near my place where a pack of geese roam free and every time I go there I try to socialise with them.
One male goose became very friendly, he let me pet him and jumped also on my lap! Of course also more unfortunate moments happened…I’ve been attacked a few times by a couple of Chinese Geese, they are very noisy and territorial. They literally bit my ass! Anyway, I plan to have some when I move into my next house, I am planning to buy a new house with a nice garden out of the city.
Wow! The geese bit your butt?? I love this story. So are you one of those people that puts your pets into costumes? Don’t be shy to tell us about their battle vests!
Not really, they literally hate everything like that! Once I tried to put a leash on Topino, because I wanted to take him for a walk, but he was doing the crazy salmon to get out of it!
Do you think any of your cats have a favourite music genre?
I guess they like music in some way. Even extreme metal does not disturb them, Topino is able to sleep in front of the speakers while I play or listen to the heaviest stuff! One thing they love for sure is when I put on some birds singing, or some nature sounds.
Thats great they are music fans too. If you could compare your cats to any famous musicians, who would they be and why?
Well, Topino has a little classic Abbath face paint. Or at least, that’s what people say when they see his pictures! For Pirata I would say Sting. His theme song is from Police (yes, of course my cats have specific theme songs ahah). As for Bruby…well…someone from Muse – his theme song is Psycho!
Do they like it when you practice at home? Perhaps they meow along?
They don’t mind it really, unless it’s drums. Guitar and bass are fine, even singing and screaming, but as soon as I start to hit the electronic drum kit that I use here to practice, they leave the room. There is only one weird thing happening with Topino. Don’t ask me why, he HATES one specific riff on the guitar. Every time I play it, he looks at my hands scared and pissed, then he goes away…ahah…cats…!
Not only are you a volunteer and a terrific cat dad, but you’re a busy musician as well. Has it been hard being a member of so many bands, practicing via video calls? Is there any upcoming news to share, anything exciting coming up for any of your bands? You must be looking forward to getting back on stage again and on tour again?
Honestly the pandemic gave me a chance to sit down and relax at first. I realised that I’ve been basically a workaholic for many, many years. Despite the tragic situation, I personally enjoyed the first months of isolation, being finally able to take some time from myself.
I also had the chance to finish composing the third album of my solo band Hiems, the second one has been released more than 10 years ago. I hadn’t had the time to work properly on the new album until now, so I’m going to mix the record next month, I guess it will be out by autumn 2021.
This said, now I immensely miss the stage and the adrenaline of playing live and most of all, I miss my band mates! Luckily I had the chance to play a couple of shows in September 2020 with Forgotten Tomb in Italy.
We had to limit the places at 200 people (sitting and masked) and yes it was a bit weird, but still better than no show at all.
The situation with Triumph Of Death is unfortunately different, since the other band members live in a different country and I haven’t have a single chance to see them since the pandemic started. I never stopped rehearsing the songs anyway, usually I go once or twice a week to my rehearsal space and I go through the set list alone to keep myself in shape. In these days we are discussing the possibility to stream a live in studio with Forgotten Tomb to present the new record “Nihilistic Estrangement” that came out in may 2020, in the middle of the Corona situation; so besides the two Italian shows, we didn’t have the chance to present it live yet. There will be more news in a few weeks!
Well it sounds like you’ve been keeping yourself productive and positive. Are there any words of wisdom or advice you’d like to share with your supporters during this time?
I think this pandemic is a clear sign that we are abusing our planet; I have no trust anyway in the intelligence of mankind.
We are simply not built care enough for long term risks. This world is too overpopulated, overpolluted, overexploited and this virus is only one of the possible things that will go wrong in the future. When we will lose the last animal and the last tree, we will see that we can’t eat or breathe fucking money.
Those are some words of wisdom indeed!
Thanks so much for your time, I for one cannot wait to get back to having gigs in my life again. Pat all of your cats for us please.
To view activities at the shelter click HERE
To support the Shelter’s Ambulatory visit their Amazon Wishlist HERE
For all things FORGOTTEN TOMB click HERE
For all things TRIUMPH OF DEATH click HERE
For all things HIEMS click HERE
Alessandro -Triumph of Death photo credit: Henryk Michaluk of Airdrift Photography
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"It does not require a majority, but an irate, tireless minority, keen to set bushfires in people's minds." Hail Satan!